Tag Archives: dragon fruit

Durian: Nutrition

Often considered to be the king of all fruits, the durian definitely packs its weight with plenty of nutrition. On average, a durian fruit can grow up to 12 inches long and 6 inches in diameter, weighing in at up to 10 pounds. It would be a waste not to be packed full of delicious nutrients, right?

Although the durian is not everybody’s first choice when it comes to fruit, it is not because of its lack of nutrition. It’s because it smells! When its exterior shell is cracked, the smell given off can be extremely pungent, and although some enjoy the smell, other’s can’t bear it. However, the health benefits of the durian definitely outweigh the ‘cost’ of the bad smell, so it would be a good idea to try and get over the smell!

One of the main reasons people eat fruit is because they are generally low in calories. However, the durian fruit is a pretty calorie-dense, packing 375 of them inside its hard exterior. Like I said, this can be a good thing, or a bad thing. It completely depends on you.

The one thing which can’t be debated is the fact that the durian fruit has more than its share of vitamins and minerals. Each segment of this pungent, yet amazing, fruit can provide you with all the essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin, niacin, folate, potassium, zinc, sodium, manganese, and copper. Now that’s a lot of nutrients! In fact, one glass of durian juice can provide you with almost all of your daily recommended allowance of each and every one of those listed nutrients, especially vitamin C.

The nutrition that the durian provides has been known by the Western world for around 600 years now, so it is not a newly discovered fruit. But as mentioned before, it is definitely not the most popular, due to its strange smell and relatively high price. This little popularity can mean that it’s hard to find, especially in smaller town. Now, if you want to know just exactly how bad it smells, many shop owners, hotels and restaurants have refused to stock/serve it, purely because of its smell. Who knew a fruit could cause so much disruption?

Further reading and bibliography

  1. Durian
  2. Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers, and Lovers of Natural Food

Dragon Fruit: An Exotic, Health-Packed Fruit

The dragon fruit, which is also known as the pitaya, is a beautiful, unique, healthful, delicious, and elegant exotic fruit.  Many people around the world are now hooked to the unique taste of the dragon fruit, whether it’s in fruit form, drink form, or pastry form.  Perhaps, you’ve tasted vitaminwater’s power-C flavor, dragonfruit.  (It’s actually one of my favorite drinks.)

A whole and cut-open dragon fruit, picture by SMasters

The dragon fruit is a relative to the kiwi, but features a completely different taste.  The inside edible part is comprised of a white pearly flesh evenly dotted with little black specks.  Dragon fruits have a mild sweetness that you are sure to love, and have an elegant, wild look on the outside.  Dragon fruits are one of the most nutritious of exotic fruits – they are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.

Dragon fruits are native Central and South America, but are now also grown in Southeast Asian countries.  In fact, many tropical regions throughout the world now boast a great supply of dragon fruits.  This is also how the dragon fruit got the very fitting Chinese name of 火龙果, or “fire dragon fruit.”

Interestingly, the dragon fruit plant is a cactus (bet you never knew that a cactus could produce such a succulent, juicy fruit!)  Even more, the dragon fruit plant only blooms at night, and the beautiful, aroma-filled white flowers are known as the “moonflower.”

Dragon fruits come in many varieties – the one we are most used to is a red-colored fruit, with a pearly white inside.  However, dragonfruits come in yellow too!  Some varieties of dragon fruit may also have pink or red flesh.  All these different varieties provide unique taste to the dragon fruit; some enjoy eating Stenocereus dragon fruits, which are considerably sour and more refreshing, with a stronger taste and more juice.

Because of the pitaya’s health benefits and nutrition, it is a great addition to any choice of diet, and provides tons of health benefits.  For example, the great supply of fiber in a pitaya fruit is great for one’s liver, as well as the digestive system.  In addition, dragon fruits have been proven to help those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or weight problems.  I’ll go deeper into the dragon fruit’s health benefits in a future post.